Doing Unproductive Things (Repeatedly)
I still have a Hotmail account. Although it’s now technically a Microsoft Outlook account. But I still consider it my Hotmail account, and I still type Hotmail.com to access it. I’d like to do away with it, but it’s like any legacy system – it’s my back-up and I am afraid to let go. I am afraid that by closing the account I’ll lose some thread connecting me to something about which I need to know.
Given it’s secondary status in the hierarchy of my modes of communication, I don’t check the account all that often. And, until recently, I checked it exclusively in my secondary browser. For some reason, I kept two browsers going – Broswer A and Broswer B, one work and one personal – and relegated various sites and tasks to each. The trouble is, that at some unknown point, I abandoned the original premise and used both for, well, both. Then, worse, abandoned the back-up browser entirely, with the exception of checking my Hotmail account. This went on for weeks (okay, maybe months), until one day it suddenly came to me that there really was no reason to open Browser B, I could just type Hotmail.com into Browser A, and, voila, my mother’s emails would appear.
Yes, I know this is not “rocket science.” But it got me wondering how many other little habits I’ve formed that had absolutely no purpose whatsoever or, worse, were total time sinks … like opening another browser when there was absolutely no reason to do so. Here is what I came up with:
- Not bookmarking a website, thinking, “of course I’ll remember,” and then spending 20 minutes trying to pry the name of the restaurant out of my memory and search history and NYMag.com.
- Not keeping a notebook with me at all times, including the oft-recommended one beside the bed, knowing with certainty, I’ve got this; this is so great, there is no way I won’t remember it in the morning. Then an hour or two after waking, remembering that I had a brilliant idea, but having no idea what the idea was – for the theme of an pretty damn important proposal.
- Not signing up for fabulous (free) online tools to help me manage, sort and actually read the copious amounts of content I seem to need to feed my brain, and wasting more time trying to find it (again). Feedly, anyone? How about Pocket?
- Not hitting “Control S” nearly often enough, and losing my work when the program gets irretrievably hung up, especially Word, or not frequently clicking “Save Draft” when I am preparing one of these posts, with the same result, when my Wi-Fi goes on the blink. Re-do.
No doubt there are more – but you get the gist – and I am determined to find them. In the name of productivity, not to mention my sanity, I am on a quest to question every habitual thing that I currently do without thinking.
Care to join me?